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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  December 16, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EST

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>> expertise is a wonderful thing to have if it you're moynahan, not necessarily for jack abramoff. kevin spacey's film is called "casino jack." congratulations on the golden globe nominations. mr. boehner, where are the jobs, i'm keith olbermann. goodnight and good luck. now to discuss what is not being achieved in the senate, here is rachel maddow. merry christmas. have a good new year. >> if you think i'm going to leave you alone between now and the new year, you've got another on thing coming. thank you, keith. thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. we start with breaking news out of washington. what we were expecting to bring you at this hour was a high stakes showdown on the senate floor between democrats and republicans. we expected to show you
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democrats calling the republicans' bluff over a spending bill that democrats hoped to pass before the end of the year. it's the spending bill to funds the government. it's the spending bill to fund the entire u.s. government through the next year. earlier it today, republicans threatened to paralyze the senate boy having that bill, 1,924 ages read out loud on the senate floor. even though it was a bill they helped author and a handful of senate republicans reportedly said they would support it when it came up for a vote. senate republicans decide intend to obstruct it. to effectively kill it by forcing democrats to have it read out loud pointlessly on the senate floor. a move that would halt all senate action for upwards of 50 hours. what we expected to bring you right now tonight was democrats forcing republicans to follow through on that threat. we had it all planned out. that was not to be. within the last hour, harry reid announced that the republican
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obstruction in this case worked. actually just the threat of republican obstruction worked. there will be no readings of the bill out loud on the senate floor tonight. senator reid announced democrats will be withdrawing the spending bill altogether. a year of work down the drain. >> this was a bipartisan effort draft by republicans and democrats. it came to the floor after months of work. by democrats and republicans. and it was presented to this body in a bipartisan way to vote on. i wasn't going to vote on it. i'm against it. but i you just -- so i think i have a slight built of credibility to call these guys on this notion that this is something that sprung from nowhere out of some back room on the democratic side of the aisle. this it sprung from a bipartisan effort on the appropriations
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committee and every member of that party knows it. >> senator mccaskill not speaking from notes. this run out the clock strategy that republicans are employing is to prevent the senate from taking up all the other work the senate is trying to get to. things like the nukes treaty with russia, the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. senator reid announced that the senate will hold votes this saturday on the dream act and stand alone bill to repeal tonight ask, don't tell. those votes scheduled for saturday. there is action on the house side of capitol hill as well. at this hour, the house is debating the tax cuts compromise that president obama struck with congressional republicans. the senate passed this bill last night. it moved over to the house for its approval there. the debate is expected to continue for the next few hours with a final vote coming around midnight. if your saying to yourself right now, wait a second.
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the house, didn't the house already pass the extension of the bush tax cuts? yes. you would be correct. two weeks ago, house democrats passed a version of the tax cuts bill. that was the one favored by president obama and most democrats. remember this? >> on this vote, the yeas are 234. the nays are 188. the motion is adopted. >> the motion is adopted. the motion that house democrats passed that night was the extension of the bush tax cuts that president obama and congressional democrats campaigned on. it it was tax cuts just for income below a quarter million. the bonus tax cuts for income over a quarter million for the richest americans, those were allowed to expire. that's the what they passed. also the estate tax would return to the level it was at during the clinton administration. we've got a huge deficit problem. they only benefit rich people.
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we can't afford these giveaways to the rich right now. house democrats did it. house democrats got that done. >> the motion is adopted. >> the motion is adopted. except that it wasn't. that version of the tax cuts bill -- yes, it passed the how the. it died in the united states anti-. it fell victim to a republican fill be filibuster in the senate. this phenom of passing bills in the house only to see it die in the senate, it has lots of company. you remember cap and trade energy legislation? >> on this vote, yeas are 219. nays are 212. the bill is passeded. >> the bill is passed. cap and trade energy legislation. remember when democrats
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campaigned on passing comprehensive health reform that included a public option? >> the bill is passed. >> comprehensive health reform, including a public option. remember when democrats campaigned on finally repealing the don't ask, don't tell policy. house democrats not only did that. they did it twice. >> on this vote, the yeas are 234 and the nays are 194. the amendment is adopted. >> also, barney frank then went on to say when it passed the second time that motion was adopted too. don't ask, don't tell passed the house twice. remember when democrats led by president b promised they would toughen the disclosure rules on corporate campaign donations? >> on this vote, 219, yeas.
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206, nays. the bill is passed. >> disclosure rules on corporate campaign donations passed that. when democrats campaigned on immigration reform, the dream act? >> on this vote, the yeas are 216. the nays are 198. the motion is adopted. >> yet again, the motion is adopted. the motion is adopted. the motion is adopted. the motion is adopted. all of these things have been adopted, right? all of these things have been done by nancy pelosi and democrat in the house. democrats campaigned on these things. the president pushed for them. the house got it done. then they all died. in the united states senate. one of the consequences of the big, big democrat iic victoriesn
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2006 and 2008, what you can get passed when they work together. a greater amount of disclosure in corporate campaign contributions. no more bonus tax cuts for the rich. all of this was campaigned on by president obama. all of this has been achieved by nancy pelosi. all of it died in the senate slowly and pagefully shortly thereafter. the distance between that world -- what is it pelosi-stan, that world, the house, where all of those things were achieved and the world with congress on the verge of extending bonus tax cuts for the richest americans, even though democrats are the majority in both houses. the difference between what the house has done and what has been done overall, that's the enthusiasm gap. you're looking for it, there it is. the right turned out in the last election and the left did not turn out in the last election. that's the gap they fell into. ultimately, that's what the united states senate being
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broken has wrought. what the house has giveth, the senate has taketh away. with the endless obstructions and delay tactics. the margins that democrats have over republicans has been equal. things have died in the senate, not because democrats didn't have the votes. they had the votes. the senate broke. without president obama recognizing the president that is the u.s. senate and acknowledging it is a broken institution that may be should be fixed, it's sort of game over in terms of the rest of his agenda. it's therefore sort of game over for his support from his base. especially with a whole slew of republicans on their way to washington in january. the distance between what the president supporters want to see happen and what ends up happening continues to grow. unrest and frustration among the president's core supporters continues to build. the president -- this presidency has a sxrb it is called the united states senate. it is a problem that can be
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fixed. the question is, will it? joining us now is democratic senator amy clobishar. >> before we started on how we can fix this. i hope you'll be happier after a year of the democrats standing up for don't ask, don't tell, we get that repeal done. standing up to repeal it. we get that done on a saturday. that is the plan. we have picked up votes because of the pressure over the time that we have pushed and pushed for this to get done, this repeal. 70% of active duty soldiers and national guard members say they can live with this. we've got the top military brass supporting this from gates to mullen. we have got the united states senate, nearly every democrat behind us. we've picked up at least four
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republican vote. i want to say despite all of these problems, that is going to be something that you should celebrate as a victory. people should, as frustrated as they can get, i hope they realize this is a major victory. >> let me ask you specifically about that. there have been moderate republicans and people like scott brown, senator snowe from maine, senator murkowski from alaska. i'm sure they're upset with me calling them mod rate. some have said they support repeal in principal but voted against it the last time it came up with procedural objections. they wanted things to be sequenced differently. why shouldn't we believe that's going to happen again on saturday? >> we're just very hopeful. this is a stand-alone bill. they have said -- these republicans have said that they support this repeal. this is their chance to vote on this repeal. it's not associated with anything else. it's a simple stand-alone bill. i believe we're going to do this. we also have the dream act up.
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the s.t.a.r.t. treaty, another great example of the treaty you're talking about. this is a treaty that first was the baby of ronald reagan. the last time it was modified was under george bush. you have seen everyone from collin pole frwell to condoleez rice supporting it. this is going without a treaty that would allow for inspection of natural arms in the country of russia which has had issue with loose nukes and not putting money into their security. we have been without a treaty for a year. that is why the democrats in the senate, along with a few brave republicans here, are pushing to get this done. i believe those are two examples where the senate, just to show you, is worth to the nth hour.
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we will work through christmas to get these bills passed. >> do you think there is an appetite to change the rules of the senate? so that the filibuster cannot be used in the specific way it has been used throughout this congress to block every single piece of significant legislation and require 60 votes on everything the senate votes on? >> i believe there is a way to change the rules. >> we have the new senators that have come in. a lot of us have managed things. we're appalled by the abuses going on. sometimes things will pass. sometimes things will fail. we need to get to the up or down votes. dozens and dozens of judges that went through the jurisdiction committee, not exactly a wimpy committee on the republican side, went through unanimously. that's what we're dealing with. a group of us started this. we are going clear through to the beginning of the next congress with some ideas. get rid of the secret hold.
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why does america want bills and judges to be secretly held? this has always you been a country of openness. this is the foundation of our democracy. you can see with people that agreed with bernie or not when he stood there for eight hours. if they're going to filibuster things, make them stand and explain why. make them do what you saw in that movie "mr. smith goes to washington." those are a few of the ideas we're talking about. >> do you think on the first day of the next congress, january 5th, there will be a vote on changing those rules, that constitutional option would take 51 votes to establish new rules? do you see that happening on january 5th? it's much harder to change it for another couple of years. >> you're exactly right. that is the time to do it. this isn't changing the constitution, right? it's a tool that has been used in the past that is okayed by
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vice presidents who preside over the senate from hubert humphrey to nixon. the idea is either through negotiations or emotiomotions t some of these bills changed. >> it's a real pleasure to have you on the show. >> it's great to be on again. we're fixing our stadium so you can visit. >> it was very sad the way it deflated like that. >> i know. but it's getting fixed. i wrote a book on that stadium, rachel. >> did you? >> it was my senior essay in college. i haven't confessed it. you have a way of bringing things out of people. there you go. a little fact. >> can i extract an invitation to go with you through the metrodome when it's fixed? >> you can. but don't wear a pointy hat in the top row. >> and no darts. still ahead, our government
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gridlock, it can be fixed on a single day in the first week of january. if it doesn't get fixed that day, it can't get fixed for another two years. nothing works like that with that specific a fix. in this case, it does. also on tap, bobby jindal. niagara falls, jon bon jovi and newt gingrich versus the dallas strip club owner. all of that still ahead. please stay with us. er holiday. that's why only zales is the diamond store. where you'll pay no interest if paid in full by january 2012.
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everything pops with the pringles superstack can! here's one of the awkward things about fixing washington that i think the senator was just alluding to. the people who have been around longest in washington don't feel that much urgency about fixing washington. after all, they've survived there a long time. it's the new arrivals who are trying to figure out how you they're going to survive in washington. they're the ones who seem to be the most shocked by what's broken and the most moved to fix it. new senators thinking that the senate is the a law-making body. those are the ones who have been most shocked into action by the fact it's no longer true that the senate is a law-making body. if the senate doesn't run on majority rules, it if it takes a super majority to do everything, it is no longer a functioning
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legislature. how can that be fixed? if the old hens in washington were worked up about it, it wouldn't that hard to fix. you can change the rules of the senate with a single majority vote if you do it on the first day you that congress is in session. it's not that big a deal if the powers that be wanted to make it happen. the people who do want to make it happen are not the powers that be. they're the junior senators. they don't generally get to call the shots. instead of trying to pull this off by persuading the big shots, that the big shots want to do this, because maybe the big shots can't be persuaded, the junior senators are organizing can of trying to get the public behind the idea that the senate rules should change and should change on january 5th with a vote on that day. making a case for changing the rules and also for what the new rules should be. >> it says to the american people. here is my position. this is why i'm not ready to
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have a vote yet. this is what is most important. here is my case. in other words, senators stand on the floor literally, stand on the floor and make their case to the american public. and the american public and their colleagues can say, you're a hero or, you're a bum. i have a question about whether you talked about this with incoming senators of either party. i'm wondering if you look at the votes you might have, where you've seen support from people coming into the senate. >> i would say among the democrats of the last three classes, it's overwhelming support for addressing this abuse. >> overwhelming support. the man you just heard there questioning senator jeff markley is dave weigel, an msnbc contributor.
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thanks for your time. that audio we just played is from a conference call that these two young senators, senator markley and uudahl held today. is it your idea they've had a strategy built in place? >> the strategy has been in place for about two years. jeff merkley, they've been giving interviews for this subject for sometime. it was mostly liberal outlets. the rest of the media has not been taking it seriously. there is a disbelief any of this can happen. the strategy of this call today was if are this to come up tomorrow. it's very heated. unless people calm down a lot
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and have powerful smelling salts at home, democrats are going to come tomorrow looking for a way to change the way the senate has been. that's why they're going to have cloture votes possibly on saturday on the dream act and don't ask, don't tell. here's the thing that no one takes seriously. >> my sense about this is that the reason it feels like this is impossible is because senators are always so worked up. and people who comment on the senate and comment on politics are always so worked about the symptoms of the disease they can't possibly think about the disease itself. they're so upset about how dysfunctional the senate is. they're so wrapped up about what it takes to get through the senate, that they're unable to take the view of the senate as a broken institution. that's probably a persuasion and argument problem as far as i can tell. then the most important question is whether or not senators like
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merkley and udall, whether they are persuasive to fellow senators. >> you played that audio about which senators might be amenable to this. they continuously mentioned dan coates. he left the senate in 1999. he was a republican from indiana. he had a nice life in the private sector. he's coming back and has said he doesn't think the senate should operate the way it does now, which implies something has changed in the past 12 years. what these democrats are trying to do is point out there has been a slippery slope in terms of how often the filibuster can be used to block things. maybe there could be a different slope. maybe the rules that be have been calcified real quickly,
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coates was there 12 years ago -- did can be broken up. the merkley reform is to force an actual debate when something happens. that is a very tiny step back from -- not quite the precipice. that requires more action. >> nobody's talking about trying to get rid of the filibuster. almost nobody is talking about that. you hear the constant catveat from every democrat, they fully expect at some point in their career, they're be in the minority. they don't want to do anything that would disen franchise minority rights to pass legislation. they want to make it something that takes a little pain. given that, i think given their reluctance to be caricatureded
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on this, do you get a sense who their audience is? who they need to be persuade? >> these thee need to persuade 48 more people. they need to persuade the vice president at one point from now you until january 5th. i guess -- i think what's important is that they are trying to persuade more democrats, who are not interested in fundamental reform. maybe some republicans. that's unlikely, by including in the reforms they could vote on january 5th, making it easier for the minority party to introduce amendments. basically saying, this is not a static situation. one day we'll be in the minority. you get more power to change things and to prevent us from situations like the one a couple of hours ago where an omnibus bill that some of us opposed, that most of us added items to for several years, collapses because the only way to stop bills is a nuclear strength threat. we'll make it easier for you. i guess the risk, republicans
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aren't showing their cards on this either. the way they look at this showdown on january 5th is that if they start a debate on changing rules, they could create mischief and try to add more permanent rule changes. honestly, the biggest impediment to merkley is that no one takes it seriously. i guess if they want to get inspired or be optimistic, look at what happened tonight with earmarks. with the omnibus bill. for a number of years, john mccain, tom coburn and i few have been shouting in the dark about how we had to defeat bills that included earmarks. didn't work for a number of years. didn't work last year. this year, it collapses. it is possible just by shouting loudly enough and getting taken seriously to shift the reality of the senate. it is unique in that way. it takes this long and this push pressure to do it. i don't want to sound like i'm
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depack chopra or something like a pipe dream. you it is. they need to make it attractive to enough senators to get one vote on january 5th or a discussion that takes a couple of days. it's risky, but having this discussion is making it more likely to happen. >> dave we go igel, msnbc contributor. mike huckabee's curiously morphing stance on something he insists he only has one stance. also, debunkz junction and something about veterans and something that made me very angry. [ male announcer ] one look can turn the everyday into romantic.
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>> ( speaking chinese )
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trade policy, he used to support that idea. mike huckabee never supported cap and trade. is that true or is that false? false. though mr. huckabee would like you to be confused about that. the former arkansas governor wrote at his website yesterday. in a recent internet post, a contributor on makes the claim that i supported cap and trade in late 2007 while running for president. to put it simply, that's not true. i never did support and never would support it, period. period. he never did support cap and trade and never would support cap and trade, except for when he totally, totally did. >> i also cap and trade of carbon emissions. and i was disappointed with the senate -- the senate rejected a carbon counting system to measure the sources of emissions because that would have been the first step toward implementing
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true you cap and trade. >> mike huckabee, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, not only supporting cap and trade but supporting true cap and trade. now he says he never would support it. changing your mind is not such a bad idea in politics. lying about changing your mind is a bad idea everywhere. everything's on tape these days. necessary up, true or false. back in 1969, the american side of niagara falls stopped falling. niagara falls went dry. is that true or is that false? trup. true y true. as just found, never-before-seen photographs before. the u.s. army corps of engineers turned it from this to this. why? they wanted to shore up some of the falts in the river bed to
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prevent erosion and remove some of the loose rock that accumulated, threatening to permanently block up the water fall. in order to do that, a built a 600-foot dam that diverted the water over the canadian side of the falls while they made the repairs on the american sided. the american side went dry. it took just over five months to complete the work. on november 25th, 1969, they turned it back on. the engineers dismantle the dam. they restored the american niagara falls back to what the falls have been doing for over 12,000 years, which is, of course, falling. very bimpressive. finally, true or false. jon bon jovi is working for the white house. yes, that jon bon jovi. true or false? true. this week president obama signed an executive order creating the white house council for community solutions. one of the members of that council none other than jon bon jovi. according to the executive
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order, mr. bon jovi you and fellow council members are to provide advice to the president on the best way to mobilize citizens and nonprofits to working together to solve specific community needs. jon bon jovi, white house apunteapun appoint appointee, true. amy kale, bon jovi super fan, rocking her socks off and singing every word. she is not kidding about it. congratulations, mr. bon jovi. more importantly, congratulations, rainey. we know how proud you are. we'll be right back.
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george w. bush's second term. his second term in office was dominated by broad dissatisfaction with him as a president and who would lead the republican party in his wake. that process characterized by all of the major candidates running away from him like winnie the pooh sprinting from a swarm of bees. what was the big issue na made
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everybody hate george bush in the second term, even republicans? pick your poison. the foundational issue with george w. bush in his sercond term was iraq. from 2006 to 2009, 60% of the country said the iraq war was not worth fighting. when you talk with bush administration veterans now, and some of them do talk to me, although never on tv, the public's hatred of the war in iraq is what they describe as the overall limiting factor, the constraint that made it impossible for george bush to break through in his sercond term, to rescue his popularity. 60% of the country said the iraq war was not worth fighting. right now 60% of the country say the afghanistan war is not worth fighting. will this war become as important to barack obama's presidency as the iraq war was to george bush's presidency? so far it's not. the iraqi war and most mid-term
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issues were absent from the last election. but it is looming. 60% of the country said the afghanistan war is not worth fighting. that number has risen 20% since the president was elect. the president saying he's going to keep with his plan to withdraw troops starting next summer. more ominously, there were leaks this weeks of two new intelligence briefs they say essentially that the war cannot be won. it will be difficult for afghanistan and its allies to prevail. it is unlikely pakistan will do that. quoting an anonymous u.s. official. you're left with the conclusion, is that we're going to lose? the war is not a dominant issue
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in american politics right now. the war is hugely unpopular. and the relationship between this president and the democratic base could frankly use some work. what happens here? joining us now is david corn, washington bureau chief for mother jones magazine and my buddy. thanks for being here. >> sure thing. >> i think that you and i both see afghanistan as a sleeper issue, a looming giant of a political issue but a giant that is asleep right now. what do you think will eventually push it to the forefront? >> i have to have full disclosure myself. i predicted several time in the last few years that afghanistan will become a hot political issue. and i've been wrong. but i still think there's the potential for that. the popularity, as you know, of the war is falling. and there's often a fight, not much of a fight, not a high-profile fight, in the late
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winter/spring time in the funding for the war. up to now it's mainly been liberal democrats in the house that have complained. because obama was their president, their commander in chief, those fights never got too passionate and didn't get a lot of media attention. i'm wondering if democrats in the minority in the house, might make more of an issue. on the other side of the ekwagsekwags equati equation, no doubt the white house and president obama will be making a case, i've made a promise. i'm going to start some form of disengagement this coming summer. don't cut me off at the knees just yet. so that may keep things on the qt for a while longer. >> let me ask you about one thing the president said today i thought was important and telling about his own feelings about the war. something i think most people are missing. we've got a quick sound bite.
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>> much of this progress, much of it is from us having sent a clear signal, we will begin the transition responsibility to afghans and start reducing american forces next july. this sense of urgency helped galvanize the coalition -- >> isn't the president saying it is strategically important to leave. that winning -- that success depends on having an exit date. doesn't that imply he really does want to go? >> i think he does want he does. i think he would like to get out of afghanistan and not have it become a political issue. more importantly, perhaps, not have it sucking up $125 billion a year when we're in very difficult economic times here. but this is kind of a contradiction at the core of his policy. he gets out there, as he did today and says being in afghanistan is critically important to the security of this country. but we also have to leave and we have to leaf soon. the rational is that it puts pressure on the afghans.
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they're going to have to train their troops and take on the taliban by the agreed upon date of 2014. the more difficult end of all of this is who knows if the afghans will be able to do that. i mean, the president says we're making progress, but clearly not enough progress to say for sure it's going to happen. and certainly from the intelligence estimates we've seen, that may not even be enough. so the real crunch of a question for president obama will be if come the summertime and even afterwards, the military says to him, it's our estimation the afghans are really not ready for this. then what will president obama do? >> right. is that a reason to stay or a reason to leave? my guess is he'll think that's a reason to leave. but we'll see. you're very smart about this. thanks for joining us. >> thanks, rachel. >>. co-ing up, a reason to use our
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tonight, we have brand-new developments in the dramatic, often fraught relationship between newt gingrich and the topless club in dallas known as the lodge. mr. gingrich you may remember offered the lodge a 2009 entrepreneur of the year award, which was to include a certificate, a novelty gavel and a special dinner in washington with newt himself. all for the low, low price of a $5,000 donation to newt gingrich's political group american solutions. of course, the 230ek folks at t lodge understood the award was a
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very, very thinly disguised fundraising campaign, but they were happy to meet gingrich and fork over the $5,000. >> we saw the menu of a lovely dinner. >> we knew it was a fundraiser. we thought it would be great to have the akward signed by newt and get a picture with him. >> but before the dinner he found out the lodge was a gentleman's kplub. he rescinded the club and ultimately returned their $5,000 check. the gavel, however, was not returned to newt gingrich. the gavel was sent to us. it's right here. i use it to restore order during unusually contentious staff meetings. as for the 5,000, dawn used it to open a shelter for dogs
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called newt's nook. c newt gingrich didn't return our calls but he told the dallas morning news, we have a firm that scans for entrepreneurs and small businesses. the way it was listed it looked like it was a very successful restaurant. it is. that didn't come to our attention until later and we felt it wasn't a good representation for our award. he almost gave an award to a strip club in exchange for $5,000 and that's not an establishment that gingrich wants to be seen giving fake awards to in exchange for $5,000. end of story, right? not so much. turns out this week dawn risos, the owner of the lodge got another fundraising scam letter from newt gingrich with another
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super tempting offer and, of course, another solicitation for money. here's the money she received this week. it refers to ms. risos as a key member of the american solutions family of supporters and notifies her that she'll be getting an american solutions membership card. there's a mock-up of what her newt gingrich organization membership card will look like once she's replied to the letter confirming her information. oh, and as long as she's replying to the letter, she might as well send newt gingrich some cash, please. quote, will you enclose a special year-end contribution of $1,000 or even as much as $2,000 for american solutions? having already been rejected by newt gingrich and his fickle fundraiser scam screeners, she's approaching this w caution. before she sends newt gingrich any more money, she says she wants to talk to him about that
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rude disininvitation last year. in a letter, she says as you may know, i'm still disappointed that you returned my $5,000 last year and revoked my invitation to a private dinner with you. i would like the opportunity to speak with you about what happened last year before i make another donation to american solutions. however, i am very happy to respond with your membership card with one of my own. instead of sending newt gingrich the $1,000 or $2,000 he asked for, she sent him a lifetime vip membership card to the lodge. lifetime vip. we eagerly await the next move from mr. gingrich and we hope he never fires the screeners for his fundraiser scam team. so we can keep using this sign which we love. before we wrap the show tonight, and hand off to lawrence, there's one last thing. tonight is the end of the larry king era in american television. larry king tonight signing off his cnn show that airs in this hour for the last


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